14. Fight Like a Femme
"Dear Primus, I cannot understand what you see in that Moonbeam femme!" Gemstone was saying to Thundercracker, her voice full of disgust and malice. "I've never met anyone as horrible as she is! Just because I charge mechs to 'face with me, she totally judges me for it. She doesn't even know me. Do you know why my life has to be the way it is?"
"Um...no," said Thundercracker uncomfortably. "Should I be asking why?"
"I was born when my mother was still young because someone raped her," Gemstone said angrily. "So I never met my father and I don't ever want to meet him. Then my mother had to drop out of school because she was pregnant. And she couldn't support me. Then she abandoned me. And I was homeless. I didn't exactly have a lot of options at that point. I didn't know another thing to do."
Gemstone had never known a mech's love, and sometimes she thought no mech ever could love her. Her father had never known her, much less loved her, and of course she didn't love the mechs she sold her body to. Much of the time, she didn't even see their faces. They treated her as a toy, not as a sentient being, and some of them were rough...but they were paying her, and she needed that money to survive. In fact, nobody had ever treated Gemstone as a sentient being; her penniless mother had seen her more as just another hungry mouth to feed. Gemstone recalled the days before she left Kaon, playing in the streets as a cold wind blew, unaware that she was malnourished, unaware that she could be abducted, assaulted, or robbed at any time.
"Look, I'm sorry to hear your story," Thundercracker said, placing one hand on Gemstone's shoulder. "But Moonbeam's not all that bad."
"You just like her because she's pretty, don't you?" Gemstone demanded, her voice sounding a little choked up. "If she was as hideous on the outside as she is on the inside, you wouldn't love her."
"No, that's not it at all!" Thundercracker insisted. "Moonbeam is really nice, and she's a great medic. Starscream was in an accident a long time ago and he almost got killed, but she fixed him up right as rain."
"Well good for her!" Gemstone shouted. "She thinks she's so great just because she's a medic and all, and she doesn't realize that not everyone has a life as easy as hers! I bet she didn't have to work her way through all those years of med school, did she? I wanted to have a nice job, a nice life, too, but not everyone has their life handed to them on a silver platter. Sometimes you don't get what you want!"
"Gemstone, I know that your being a prostitute does not define who you are," Thundercracker told her. "You're a great femme. You can always stay with us, as long as you want to. But if you don't want to stay, I understand."
"I'm staying for two reasons, Thundercracker," Gemstone said angrily. "One, because this is the first time in my life I've ever had decent living accomodations. Two, because I'm going to be the best fake girlfriend that Moonbeam bitch will ever slagging meet."
"Oh, Thundercracker, I love you so much," Gemstone was cooing, running her hands up and down Thundercracker's body. As her hands caressed his wings, he shivered and let out a sigh of pleasure; she stroked his face, and they kissed.
As they were making out furiously, Thundercracker paused for a moment and saw Skywarp standing in the doorway, looking at them, the expression on his face unreadable.
What’s it like to be on the receiving end, huh, Skywarp? Thundercracker thought as he separated himself from Gemstone smugly.
“Do you want to stay with me for the rest of my life, Gemstone?” asked Thundercracker.
Gemstone noticed Skywarp and giggled. “Oh, yes! I would love to start a nice big family with lots of nice little sparklings!”
“We could live in a nice big house, too,” Thundercracker added. “Just you, me, and our big happy family.”
What Thundercracker didn’t know was that, although they had been on speaking terms up until now, Skywarp and Moonbeam’s relationship hadn’t been exactly peachy lately. Yesterday, Skywarp had initiated the “do you want children” talk with Moonbeam again, and she had gotten angry. The answer had been a big fat “no” this time. They were now in a fight, not on speaking terms at all. Skywarp felt abandoned and heartbroken.
“Imagine the backyard energon parties we could have…” Gemstone continued. “Why, I could teach the sparklings how to cook!”
“I didn’t know you could cook, Gemstone,” said Thundercracker. “I know you would be the perfect wife, Gemstone.”
“We would be the perfect parents,” Gemstone added. “Imagine! You could help the little sparklings practice their flying and everything!”
“Oh, yes, I could teach them everything I know!” Thundercracker replied, dragging out the word.
Ever since Starscream had gotten pregnant and, as he got closer to the due date, everyone was talking about sparklings more and more, Skywarp had realized how much he wanted one of his own…but he couldn’t, not without Moonbeam. When he watched Thundercracker and Gemstone discussing their family plans so freely, he felt his eyes slowly filling with tears.
Thundercracker expected Skywarp to be angry, and he was prepared to gloat…but when he looked at his brother, he was surprised to see that he looked hurt, not angry. It was hard to see from where they were, but Skywarp looked about to cry.
“Sweetie?” asked Gemstone, sounding confused. “What’s the matter?”
"N-Nothing," said Thundercracker quietly. They continued to make out, while Skywarp bolted out of the room, determined to escape before the dam burst.
Skywarp was hoping Starscream wouldn't be in the Seekers' room, because he just wanted to collapse onto his bed and cry without anyone seeing it. Unfortunately for him, Starscream was there, eating some more ruby red crystals and reading Decepticon Weekly. There was one pillow per wing, one behind his head, and another under his back, and he kept adjusting them feverishly.
"Oh, hello, 'Warp," Starscream said calmly as Skywarp burst in. "Would you mind chopping my wings off for me, please?"
"What?" said Skywarp. "Why?"
"This slagging pregnancy makes them hurt by default," Starscream explained, "and now that I'm in my third trimester and can't fly, it's becoming unbearable. Not to mention the huge amount of strain they're putting on my back. Plus I think these twins are kicking each other just as much as they're kicking me. Primus, it's a pain in the aft to even walk. So what's up with you?"
Starscream had asked this casually, but when he looked at Skywarp, he knew something was wrong.
"What are you looking at me like that for?" Skywarp demanded, his voice shaking.
"You're a wreck, that's why," said Starscream.
"No, I'm not," Skywarp mumbled. "I'm just a little tired."
"What happened, 'Warp?" Starscream asked sternly. "I can tell something's not right."
"I made the mistake of asking Moonbeam about our family plans, again." Skywarp was trying to stay calm, but he was losing balance. "So she got mad and pushed me out of the room. Then, as if that wasn't bad enough, I saw that Thundercracker and Gemstone were talking about their future plans, and it was everything I wanted. Everything."
Starscream wanted to tell Skywarp that Gemstone was just Thundercracker's fake girlfriend, and he was only dating her to cause trouble and make everyone jealous, but then he decided it would probably do more harm than good. It could destroy the tiny, miniscule sense of friendship and brotherhood the two of them still kept for each other, and destroy it for good.
"I know she'll come around," Starscream insisted helplessly. "Maybe you two just have to get to know each other a bit more, that's all."
"I'd love to be pregnant, like you," Skywarp continued tearfully. "I mean, I can only imagine what it's like to experience all the things you did, like the feeling of their sparks beating, the kicking, the realization that you have something alive in you..."
"The purging, the mood swings, the wing pain, the fact that I can't even walk without losing my breath..." Starscream continued. "Say, 'Warp, have you ever felt like a wet cotton ball that leaks fluid wherever it goes?"
"Uh...no, I can't say I have," said Skywarp. "Do you?"
"Unfortunately, yes I do," Starscream replied. "Things are more soaking than ever down in the valve room, at least an astroliter a day for crying out loud. Probably more."
"I thought you only get that when you're, y'know...aroused," said Skywarp.
Starscream shrugged and crossed his ankles casually. "So did I."
"Well, I hope you're okay," Skywarp told him.
"One or two more trips to the wash rack a day and I'm good," Starscream reassured him. "But that's really not all. Like I told you, I've started lactating now and I produce about one dose of energon per day. Not enough to feed a sparkling, or anyone for that matter, but still...ick. And it hurts, too."
"Why? Because you haven't grown into it?"
"No, my spark chamber's big enough now that it doesn't feel cramped anymore." Starscream gestured to his spark chamber, which had grown considerably. "It hurts because it's engorged or something. So much energon...no little ones to feed it to yet. So it just sits there, leaking, which is why I now have to carry napkins everywhere I go."
"Are you all right?" Skywarp asked when Starscream let out a sort of hybrid hiccup-burp.
"Yeah. Just gas, as usual." Starscream rolled his eyes and adjusted his glasses. "You know what? I think bodies are fucking gross. I mean, I hate to bash Moonbeam or her career, but she chose a line of work where you have to have a strong stomach. I feel like I'm not even in my own body anymore."
"However gross you feel, it's all normal." Skywarp smiled sadly. "That said, I wouldn't really mind being pregnant too someday."
"Trust me, Skywarp, you do not want to be pregnant."
"If it meant I could have a little sparkling of my own, I would," Skywarp insisted, thinking of what it would be like to hold a newborn sparkling in his arms for the first time; see it look up at him with its big, innocent eyes; see it smile at him, maybe even grab his finger...and, without warning, he started to cry.
"Skywarp, please, please don't cry," Starscream begged, wincing as he hoisted himself up and pulled Skywarp to sit next to him, but Skywarp couldn't stop.
"I love Moonbeam so much," Skywarp sobbed, clinging to Starscream. "I just want her to love me, too."
"Moonbeam does love you," Starscream insisted. "She just needs time to realize how much she needs you."
"No she doesn't." Skywarp wiped his eyes. "She deserves better."
Oh, if only I wasn't about to have two sparklings, Starscream thought to himself bitterly. I would get that Moonbeam for hurting my brother, and maybe give Thundercracker a good talking-to while I'm at it.
"Skywarp, anyone would be lucky to have you!" Starscream kept on trying to console Skywarp, but nothing was working. If Starscream didn't do something quickly, his brother was probably going to become hysterical. In fact, Starscream felt a little hysterical himself.
"I just wanted to build her a perfect life, with a great family!" Skywarp was crying harder than ever. "I'm so sad, Starscream. So, so, so sad."
"Listen, 'Warp, if you'll help me off this bed, I can go to the kitchen with you and we can get something to drink," said Starscream. "You can't stay here crying forever."
"I'm not thirsty," said Skywarp, wiping his eyes.
"Well, you need to go flying, at least," Starscream told him. "I can't go with you, but it will cheer you up."
"Okay, I guess." Skywarp shrugged and hopped off the bed; Starscream envied his mobility. Carrying twins was like having two giant water balloons shoved into your stomach, only a lot less comfortable. At almost 33 weeks, they were constantly moving and Starscream was sure their arms and legs were everywhere, dueling it out with each other, fighting over the limited space. Starscream reached out his hand and Skywarp pulled him off the bed. Starscream was trailing behind, panting, as they started to leave for the kitchen, so Skywarp decided to teleport instead. When they got to the kitchen astroseconds later, they couldn't believe their eyes.
There, on the kitchen floor, Gemstone and Moonbeam were fighting each other mercilessly; it seriously looked like they were trying to kill each other. Thundercracker was gone; the femmes were the only ones there.
“What on Earth?” Skywarp cried. “Moonbeam, what do you think you’re—”
Moonbeam screamed as Gemstone bit into her wings, hard. At the sound, Thundercracker came running in, too, and he seemed as shocked as his two brothers were.
“How dare you touch a Seeker’s wings, you worthless whore!” Moonbeam screeched, clasping both hands around Gemstone’s neck and squeezing.
“How dare you call me a whore, you stuck-up, sparkless bitch!” Gemstone hollered back, managing to squeeze out of Moonbeam’s clutches.
“It’s funny…” said Moonbeam. “After I texted your name into my data pad, it autocorrected to ‘disgusting slut’.”
“I saw a piece of Ravage’s scrap on the floor this morning,” Gemstone retaliated. “It reminded me of you.”
“Go fuck yourself,” said Moonbeam. “And if you have any friends like you, you can go fuck them too and earn some pocket change.”
“Why don’t you slip into something more comfortable…like a coma?”
“You make me wish I had more middle fingers!”
“Maybe you should eat makeup so you’re pretty on the inside!”
“The smartest thing that ever came out of your mouth was a mech’s spike!”
“You’re so evil that when I kill you, Primus will need tongs to toss you into the Pit!” Gemstone shouted, and flipped Moonbeam over. Judging from the black-and-gold Seeker's howl of pain, Gemstone could punch awfully hard.
“Wow, they’re worse than you and Megatron,” Thundercracker whispered to Starscream.
“All right, ladies, that’s enough!” said Skywarp, but, in the confusion, he got kicked in the nuts and bolts by Moonbeam.
“You aren’t really dumb enough to try and split up a catfight, are you, Skywarp?” Starscream asked, as the purple jet’s feminine scream lingered in the air for a moment. “I mean, I can win any dogfight…but this is a whole other ball field.”
“Actually, this is kind of…hot,” said Thundercracker.
“H-Hot with pain?” croaked Skywarp. “Because I think that part of me was built to be treated nicer.”
Gemstone seemed to be winning the fight. Taking advantage of Moonbeam’s smaller size, she easily picked her opponent up by the wing and backhanded her right onto the floor again; Moonbeam introduced Gemstone’s face to the bottom of her thruster.
“We should…we should really try to split them up, don’t you think?” Skywarp mumbled, sinking down onto the floor and groaning in pain.
“Gemstone’s obviously winning the fight,” said Starscream, shrugging. “I say let her take out Moonbeam.”
Gemstone, looking furious, lifted a screaming Moonbeam up, then slammed her onto the floor.
“Yeah, my money’s definitely on Gemstone,” Thundercracker agreed.
“Listen, guys, I can’t just sit here and watch my girlfriend get beat up by Thundercracker’s girlfriend!” Skywarp insisted. “Do you realize how bizarre that sounds?”
“What is going on in here?!” they heard someone say as he burst into the room. “What is all this noise I hear?”
“Oh, Megatron, thank Primus!” said Skywarp. “Gemstone is beating up Moonbeam and I’m afraid she’ll beat me up too if I try to stop her! You’ve got to do something!”
“Silence, fool,” said Megatron and, to their surprise, he walked over to the two battling femmes (still trying to kill each other) and lifted them both up, one in each hand.
“Let me down!” shrieked Moonbeam. “I’m going to kill that whore!”
“Like you ever could, you freak!” Gemstone shouted back.
Megatron set them both onto the ground. Skywarp grabbed Moonbeam and Thundercracker grabbed Gemstone; they held them back until the two femmes were too exhausted to fight any more.
“I’m not fixing up those injuries I gave you,” said Moonbeam.
“You’re a lot worse off than I am,” Gemstone snapped.
“Thundercracker, take Gemstone away,” Megatron told the blue jet. “Starscream, Skywarp, Moonbeam, I don’t care where you go, just stay away from the other two.”
“Moonbeam, sweetie, what got into you?” Skywarp asked gently as he wrapped his arms around her. Her wings were bleeding heavily, and she had a deep scowl on her face. She was the loser of the fight, and it was clear she didn’t like it.
“I hate that hooker Thundercracker brought home,” Moonbeam mumbled. “And she hates me.”
“Let’s just head to the med bay and get you fixed up, okay, kissy-wissy?” Skywarp held Moonbeam’s hand and led her out of the main monitor room and down the hall, Starscream following close behind.